"Great choral music is centered around great text. In Paul Carey's
"1944", musical sensitivity is given to HD's beautiful and profound
descriptions of the realities and confusions of war. The words control
the entire spectrum of tonality and steer this composition into a
challenging and powerful presentation.
When Paul came to visit with the
North Hills Chorale, his first priority was engaging the choir in
discussions about "Christmas, 1944". In our earliest communications,
Paul indicated the importance of focusing on the text and allowing the
words to truly have meaning. One simply cannot perform "1944" and not
be changed to some extent. It is a very mature piece for a mature ear
and a thoughtful mind. I will forever value the opportunity that I was
afforded when we premiered his music. For us as a choir, his challenge
raised our musical bar, and for myself as a young conductor, I couldn't
have asked for any greater gift!"
Director, North Hills Chorale, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
"I commissioned a major work for
Christmas, "The Bethlehem Star." from Paul in 2004. Audience reaction
to the work was wonderful, and the singers truly enjoyed learning and
performing the work. Paul made every attempt to give us what we asked
for, on time, and he is most willing to attend rehearsals and provide
helpful comments. I have performed and recorded other works of Paul's
as well, and will give the premiere of the SATB version of his
delightful "Play with Your Food" cycle in March, 2005. He is an
excellent composer who is not locked into one particular style or
harmonic language. I look forward to playing through each new work that
he sends along."
Dr. Nancy Menk
Chair, Department of Music
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556-5001
South Bend Chamber Singers
Dear Mr. Carey:
I sang with the
South Bend Chamber
Singers when they premiered your piece "Bethlehem Star" at
I just came across a snippet of the poem "The Blessed Virgin
Compared to the Air We Breathe" and realized I had sung it . . . but
when? where? Finally I recalled that it was with the SBCS that
and found your site with the recording of that performance. What a
treat! I was one of the soloists and recall how much I enjoyed
singing it, and that wonderful ostinato of "Wild air,
world-mothering air, nestling me everywhere." I was only in Indiana
for a year before moving to
Kansas where I
live now, but treasure my memories of singing with the Chamber
Singers and, in particular, the piece that you wrote. Thank you.
of the Snail Brigade"
Dear Paul Carey,
I really injoy your song I think it is very funny and exciting and
strong song. I am a 5th grader in the chorus and injoy singing your
song snail brigade. Also I have never thought about how hard it is
for snails to get food. The next time I see a snail I will try to
let it get some food! :] I am not sure if we are doing any other of
your songs but I will check.
a fifth grader from Mrs.Schmeters chorus,
from the Spectrum Music Choral
TREBLE VOICES ~ CHRISTMAS
A Cradle Song,
by Paul Carey, English text, Oxford, 386829-6, SA & piano or harp.
This provocative carol is brilliantly crafted. Beautiful melodies and
fine text painting on a famous poem by William Blake make this piece
great for building brilliant head tone in treble voices. Changing keys
and meter signatures are handled with strong understanding of rules of
composition, yet sound spontaneous in gesture. This is a real winner
for the young choir that enjoys beautiful melodies on simple
partwriting. It will be particularly effective when a harpist is
Says Yes to Me"
A review of Vox Femina of Los
Angeles' March 8, 2008 performance:
Femina Los Angeles
is a world-class women's vocal ensemble which performs excellent
choral music in a diversity of styles...
Paul Carey's "God Says Yes to Me" was brilliant, amusing, and
insightful in its treatment of the divine presence in the smallest
details of our lives."
"I like your new piece, 'Hope'. Singers will enjoy the lyricism!
It is not difficult and will appeal to a wide variety of ensembles.
The accompaniment works
well and is supportive and pianistic.
I look forward to your new works."
Nova Voce Women's Chorus
Charlotte, North Carolina
Saw Three Ships"
"We sang your arrangement of "I
Saw Three Ships" in December 2003 [subsequently recorded on
their first CD]. The arrangement is so fresh and I have fallen in love
with your style, nuances, and innovative ways of hearing and
experiencing music. The girls absolutely adored the piece."
Mark L. Stamper
"The harmonies are exquisite, the
voice leading sensitive, logical and friendly to the voice -- a
lovely setting of the song."
Founder and Music Director,
Milwaukee Choral Artists
Chair, Graduate Choral
Conducting Program, University of WI, Milwaukee
My Friend Elijah was a fun to sing and it brought joy to all of us
in the choir. I can't count the mornings lately that I have
awakened to it going through my head! The notes and words were a
perfect blend and we loved it - of course none of us could keep
still while singing it either! Thank you for writing it and thank
you for your kind words sent to Ben Legett. You are awesome!
Alison Waite - Alto 2, The Wolf River Singers
I am a soprano in the Wolf River Singers (directed by Ben Legett, website
at www.wolfriversingers.org) and had the pleasure of performing
My Friend Elijah in our concert this past weekend. I think the piece was
the audience favorite and certainly was the singers favorite!
We had fun learning it and enjoyed every note. Thanks for writing such
a great piece! I'm off to put on wool socks and eat some oreos!
Potato/Love Poem" (From the "Play with
Your Food" song cycle)
Weblog of Jonathan Miller, artistic director of Chicago A Cappella
Making Someone Happy
Jonathan Miller on Mon, 07/09/2007 - 6:31pm.
Last weekend, Chicago a
cappella had a special performance, along rather unusual lines. A
longtime patron was having a big birthday, and his wife hired us to go
the Unitarian Church of Evanston for a surprise party and concert.
Sometimes it's hard to know if you're affecting someone, but this was
not one of those times. The fortunate birthday boy, Craig, sat up in
the front row, enjoying all of it. One of the requests was the
hilarious song by Paul Carey,
"Mashed Potato/Love Poem" from the cycle "Play
With Your Food!" We hadn't sung it in a few years, and it was
wonderful to once again witness that song's effect on an audience.
I have often taken pride
in the intimate connection we have with our audiences, even with 300
people in the concert hall. This was a lovely occasion when the
intimacy was the total point, and all of the singers totally delivered.
[And the response posted by Judith, Craig’s husband]
I heartily recommend CAC
for a festive occasion! Almost two weeks later, Craig is still talking
about the performance and how moved he was and so are our friends. He
laughed so hard at the Mashed Potato song that he couldn't catch his
breath and tears were streaming down his face (although that might have
been sweat, as it was 95 degrees outside and the church has no air
conditioning where the party was held). One of the couples was so
impressed they subscribed to CAC and will be attending the concerts with
"...the piece is great fun, so witty
and clever and well written. Well done!!"
Artistic Director of the
With Your Food".... from a member of Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus
Thank you for
coming to visit our chorus today. It was really neat to see you and to
get your ideas for “Summers Bounty” and the “Mashed Potato Love Song”.
(I would have to say that the second is my favorite.) I also liked
hearing about all the other songs you have written….the one about the
fish sounds really neat! I wish I could get the lyrics to all your
songs so we could sing them in chorus!! Again, thank you so, so much
for coming today; I really love your songs!
A thankful GECC chorister,
Prim, perfect Choral Artists
could have played for a few more yuks
Conductor Sharon Hansen and her small corps of
highly trained women, the Milwaukee Choral Artists, are
perfectionists. Even when they let their hair down, as in
Saturday's "Stuff and Nonsense" program, every hair is in place.
They might be meowing and impersonating cats, as
in Randall Thompson's "The Purr-ima Donna," featuring Marj
Fowler, and Rossini's "Duetto Buffo di due Gatti," featuring
Rebecca Davies and Elizabeth Malone as hissy rival divas, but
every note is right on the money, and balance and rhythm remain
As always, they sang some lovely music that
one could easily miss in a lifetime of concert attendance. Paul
Carey's brief "Mashed Potato/Love Song" is beautiful and funny
at the same time. This deadpan text floats by in a lilting,
drifting three-quarter time: "If I ever had to choose between
you and a third helping of mashed potato . . . I think I'd
choose the mashed potato. But I'd choose you next." That number
didn't need any acting to make it hilarious. The dreamy ardor of
the Choral Artists' singing drove home the joke.
This concert took place at the University
of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Recital Hall.
regarding commissions for
the Fort Wayne (IN) Children's choirs:
Fort Wayne Children's Choir commissioned
Paul to write one piece, which eventually turned into four pieces based
on texts about animals. The texts he chose were witty, eclectic and fun
- perfect for young voices. His musical settings melded beautifully with
the words - very singable. Our young singers really enjoyed singing his
pieces and working with Paul as well. He was positive and engaging with
Communication was great with Paul. He was to easy to work with and
willing to adapt as necessary. All in all a great commissioning
Artistic Director of the Fort Wayne (IN) Children's Choirs
Kristina Gerhardt and I'm in the Fort Wayne Children's Coir! I'm in
Treble Choir. The one who sings Seal Lullaby. It is such a beautiful
song and I enjoy singing it. It is an honor to sing something and
set the standards. Thank-you Mr. Carey"
"Paul's commission was to write a
birthday piece for string trio, in honor of a lifelong [Suzuki] music
educator. To fit the occasion, the piece had to be lighthearted and
delivered on time. Paul's composition fit the bill wonderfully,
capturing the exuberance of youthful music and the anguish of "gotta
practice," with a sly wink to [the book one Suzuki method tune]
'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.'"
D.E. Newsom, commissioner of "Tiny Stars"
I conduct the Bel Canto Children's Chorus in SE Pennsylvania. We have
sung a number of your pieces over the years, but recently I picked up
"The White Rose" to check out. I have to tell you that I think it is simply
a stunning piece. The text is exquisite, and the setting just gorgeous. I plan
to have my senior high girls chamber chorus perform it in the
spring. Thank you for writing this absolutely beautiful piece!
Founder and Artistic Director, Bel Canto Children's Chorus
the Santa Fe (NM) Women's Ensemble and premiered Dec 2006
The Santa Fe audience thrilled at the music by Paul Carey
that used a text by Santa Fe poet Lonnie Howard. As we were gathered in
the beautiful Loretto Chapel for concerts, the full moon had risen
outside and all the specific images [of the poetry] of Santa Fe warmed
our hearts. Paul's music is highly evocative and surrounds the listener
with exquisite beauty. Check out this piece and see how it would
translate to your winter experience.
Linda Raney, artistic director,
Sante Fe Women's Ensemble
I would like to say... how much we enjoyed your wonderful composition,
Solstice. It was luminous, and lush, and evoked such
wonderful imagery. You managed to create an almost tangible atmosphere
where the singer and listener were able to experience the "iris bulbs
buried in red earth" and "black bear sleeping" or "a string of colored
prayer flags..." I haven't seen the music for over a year, [yet] I can
still recall those beautiful melodic phrases and the words.
Linda Beck, member of the
Santa Fe Women's Ensemble,
also a published composer and member of ASCAP
Read comments about:
Charge of the Snail Brigade
God Says Yes to Me
I Saw Three Ships
The Lark in the Clear Air
My Friend, Elijah
Play with Your Food/
Mashed Potato Love Song